New Books Network

J. Bernstein and C. B. K. Dominguez

The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2020

Rowman and Littlefield 2020

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 16, 2020 Lilly Goren

The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2020 (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019) is the most recent entrant within a long-established, well-respected series that surveys the nomination...

The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2020 (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019) is the most recent entrant within a long-established, well-respected series that surveys the nomination process in the United States every four years. Political Scientists Jonathan Bernstein and Casey Dominguez have pulled together a diverse assemblage of authors and perspectives to help readers think about how the nomination process works, what may be changing in the 2020 process, and the role and influence of parties, money, rules, and media on the current political dynamic on the road to the party conventions and the general election.  This volume updates the substance of the previous volumes by including a focus on who the candidates are themselves, how they are allowed to be candidates, and how this may contribute to the shape of the nomination race.

The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2020 also adds quite a lot to the discussion about American political parties, with an array of chapters that take up different aspects of the role and function of the parties in American politics. These chapters, which make up about half of the book, dive into questions about how the parties worked in the 2016 election cycle and how they have responded to that nomination process. In this regard, the parties do not necessarily operate as mirror images of each other, and the various authors examine the different coalitions within the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and how those coalitions function at local, state, and national levels. The parties are also examined as long-standing institutions, and how that context and position contributes to how they operate in a political environment that is both quite polarized, and in flux.  The book concludes with an historical analysis of the nomination and election process from the early days of the American republic, providing readers with a comparison between the current and evolving process and the process that came into being as the Founding generation worked to accommodate the presidential election structure established in the new Constitution while integrating the political parties as they became more fully entrenched in American politics. Bernstein and Dominguez have produced a book that is accessible and engaging, providing substantial information and analysis of the myriad dynamics and institutions that are contributing to the 2020 nomination process.


Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).